NEWS 17 Mar 08

Hello friends,

Mission come from the heart of God. All believers are simply called to be faithful to him – and be where his Spirit is active in the world. It is encouraging to receive so many stories – there is a sense that God is releasing his people to touch their communities with his love. This work cannot be controlled – for it is the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes he works quickly to equip and release people to fulfill his mission. Remember the story of the Ethiopian – one meeting and he was released to plant God’s kingdom in Africa. Remember Paul’s journeys – often only 2-3 weeks in a place (even among the Romans in Philippi) and a church was established. Simplify your work. Small seeds grow a large work. (See Mark 4.) Check out www.newchurchlife.com and see how God is using many to create new clusters of faith within their communities.

Be faithful to God,
Peter Roennfeldt

CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 17 Mar 08

News stories, resources, websites & equipping – including:
SKIDZ Alive starts well
Cottage Beck Café Church draws community together!
Street Pastors take church to the Streets!
Street Pastors in their Village!
Community Volunteers involved in Café Church
More Stories: Check out more stories on www.newchurchlife.com.

SKIDZ Alive starts well: 33 kids came and with 12 high school helpers, community mums & staff – and SKIDZ Alive started last Saturday afternoon (March 15). The kids learnt about their potential in Jesus’ eyes through story telling, puppets, drama, crafts, study time, memory verse, and activities. Even the clown and ‘mad scientist’ – through their illusions and experiments – illustrated that everyone has potential. SKIDZ Alive is a monthly kids’ church. It is the vision of Brian Boyland – a member of the Living Waters Community Church plant on the campus of Gilson College, and one of the chaplains at the school. Brian brought together and trained an enthusiastic team. Brian reports that it “went fantastic. We had some new faces which was great.” Chrissie Cooper (associate pastor at Living Waters) chatted with some of the parents, and they really loved it. “We are thinking of extending our plans to include a afternoon tea for parents,” Bryan reports.

Cottage Beck Café Church draws community together! “The great thing about working from the Café,” says Isobel Webster, “is that it just seems to draw people to it.” For a couple of years now the Neighbourhood Action Team (NAT) often chaired by the Mayor – which includes the police, local Council, Probation Services, Neighbourhood Watch, and various other bodies – have held their monthly meetings in Cottage Beck Café Church. At the last NAT meeting there were about 50 people with standing room only – and the first item on the agenda was a presentation by Su Matthan about Street Pastors in Lincoln. “The Street Pastor programme has been so successful in cutting crime in Lincoln on Friday and Saturday nights that Su’s presentation was pretty powerful.” Right since the beginning is has been the vision of church planters Bryan and Isobel Webster for the Café to be “like an umbrella” drawing all of Scunthorpe’s services together.

Street Pastors take Church to the Streets! Street Pastors started in 2003, the vision of a London vicar. Today there are over 5000 Street Pastors around the UK, from all denominations. When Ian Brown, a Methodist minister in Lincoln, decided to start up a branch of Street Pastors, Su Matthan read about it in the local paper and volunteered. She attended the training and the Lincoln project started in October 2007. On a monthly rota, groups of Street Pastors walk around the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm until 4am, helping the revellers – and the homeless. They are known for providing warm clothes and flip-flops for the inappropriately dressed night clubbers! They have quickly become well-known and popular, the police greatly appreciate and support them, and in the six months they have been going, crime in Lincoln’s city centre has dropped by over 7% at weekends. Su says, “Street Pastoring is about being where people are, being the church on the streets, and being available. People who call themselves church aren’t normally seen in that place at that time of night.” Su’s husband Chris was amongst a further group of 13 commissioned as Street Pastors recently, bringing Lincoln’s total to 38. Check out www.streetpastors.org.uk for more details.

Street Pastors in their Village! Lincoln Street Pastors Chris and Su Matthan live with their daughter, Asha, in a village outside of Lincoln, called Billinghay. Since they moved there several years ago, they have determined to make a difference to the quality of life for all in their community. They live on the High Street in the centre of the village, and made themselves known to all the Christian or church leaders in Billinghay, with whom they have a relationship as prayer partners. One group who are starting Christian meetings has their support in the production of their PowerPoint’s. Whilst local people are in no doubt about their Christian experience, they are known for not having an agenda, no ulterior motive. They are just determined to be a voice, to discover the needs within their community, and be available. For several years they have organised a monthly walk in the surrounding countryside, all year around, to foster friendships and develop the sense of community in the village. Su has been a Parish Counsellor for 5 years and recently ran for office on the District Council. She is a Governor at a local school. She edits the village newsletter – which Chris and Asha deliver, thus meeting everyone in the village. As a family, they are motivated to deeply care about the people around them – and this caring has inspired people to seek God for themselves. Billinghay is an on-going story!

Community Volunteers involved in Café Church: “For years we prayed for more volunteer staff from the community, because that was part of the plan for building deep relationships – and because we needed the help!” says church planter Bryan Webster. “Suddenly we seem to have more than we can cope with! The Probation Service send us people who need somewhere to work off their community service hours, as do the Appropriate Adult service (which is the youth probation service). New Deal, the government initiative for long-term unemployed, send people who are required to do voluntary work for three months after having received unemployment benefit for a long time. Mencap consider Café Church a safe place to send people who need to develop self-worth and self-confidence but cannot hold down paid employment. And last but not least, we have regular customers asking to join the staff.”
“Many of these staff are ‘serious projects’ themselves,” says Bryan Webster, “that is, they have social issues which mean they cause as much work as they do for the Café. But once someone has moved from being a regular customer to being on staff, or once they have been sent to the Café by one of those groups, there’s a connection, a relationship that does not dissolve. They clearly consider themselves “members” of Cottage Beck Café Church, and when they need spiritual ministry that’s where they go. Eija (who manages the Café day-to-day spends many of her non-Café days with these folks, just talking, shopping, visiting. With her non-judgemental and gentle nature, she is generally adored and quickly becomes confidant and friend.” Almost every one of these staff have stayed on for the In Touch meeting (for deep spiritual discussions) on Tuesday evenings, and often continue to come to that even if their time working at the Café comes to an end.

More Stories: Here are more stories that have come in since the last CHURCH PLANTING NEWS. Check these out on www.newchurchlife.com – these are great stories and there are some creative ministry ideas –

Northpoint – Life Groups Multiply. God is doing exciting things – changing lives through Northpoint church plant’s multiplying Life Groups!

Revive was one year old this week! The revive church plant (Melbourne, Australia) celebrated their first birthday last Saturday, March 15.

Robinson Family – idea for Easter

God answers prayers in the Pub! Planters Bryan and Isobel Webster imagined that people would relax in the Cottage Beck Café Church or the Church in the Pub – then perhaps link to a Bible discussion group.
Tea Church impacts music festival in Budapest.

IGNITION Sparks Young Adult Discipleship. Hundreds of young adults gathered in Dallas, TX, last month, eager to worship, disciple, and revolutionize ministry to their peers. Check out the reports, photos and plans.
Mosaic of Friendship – touching lives! Mosaic is constantly seeking new ways to connect with the people of Banja Luka.

Questions for Groups. Many involved in small groups or simple church use 5 key questions to involve all in meaningful discussion of life issues.

Swinburne Plant Goes Public! Gateway Adventist Centre has a culture of planting new churches – and the latest plant will go public on May 24.

Conscious Café – touching lives! Floods brought Andrew Clark to Pittsburg. Andy is a passionate church planter – and Conscious Cafe has now opened. (read more)

Conscious Café – opens Upper Room: At-risk youth hanging out at Conscious Café create a teen drop-in-center called the Upper Room.

RESOURCES, WEBSITES & EQUIPPING EVENTS –

Forge Grass Roots Mission Festival – 11-13 April 2008: The Forge Grass Roots Mission Festival 2008 will depart from the normal conference format – spilling out onto the streets of Melbourne (Australia), with artists, musicians, practitioners from all over the country and the world. You will get a chance not only to listen to missionaries but actually work with, observe and interact with artists, activists, church planters, and some of the most amazing mission workers in Oz and in Melbourne City – from Order 614, Urban Seed, Steps, St Martians, God Squad, Community of Hope (New Age), etc. To find out what mission workshops you can go do and register go to www.festival08.forge.org.au

CHURCH PLANTING NEWS
Peter Roennfeldt

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